Photo by Scott Houghtaling – UltiPhotos.com
Seattle announced on Tuesday that they have named Steve Gussin the head coach of the Rainmakers for the 2015 season.
In 2014 the Rainmakers were co-coached by Steve Gussin and player-coach Mario O’Brien. This year Gussin will handle head coaching responsibilities on his own.
“Steve was a great co-coach last year and I’m excited to see where he can take the team,” said General Manager Rusty Brown. “He has a great tenure with the players and is primed to get the best from them.”
Gussin started first joined the league as a player for the Portland Stags in the MLU’s inaugural season. A Seattle native, he commuted down for each Portland game.
Back in Seattle he took on the role of coach in 2014 and reunited with former Stags teammate Khalif El-Salaam.
“I’m looking forward to this season for so many reasons,” said Gussin. “First and foremost, I love our players. We have a lot of returning veterans from last year – or, in Mark Burton’s case, from two years ago – and getting most of them to sign on early was a big priority for us.”
The 2014 season started strong for the Rainmakers, but tapered off before the Nighthawks eliminated them from playoff contention. This season the Rainmakers will need to keep their momentum if they want a chance to fly East for the Championship.
To prepare for the season Gussin has been working on bringing the team together early. This season the Rainmakers have focused on offering multi-year contracts to Khalif El-Salaam, Mark Burton, Eddie Feely and Henry Phan. In addition to creating a strong team for the 2015 season, Gussin and Brown are securing a reliable core of players.
While there will be some new faces on the roster, Gussin is convinced that the new additions will become well-known in the Seattle ultimate community.
“We also have an incredibly talented stable of rookies that are going to turn some heads this year,” said Gussin. “Our fans may not know their names yet, but by the end of the season, some of these guys are going to be household names.”
While Gussin is primed to take on the role as head coach, he won’t be completely on his own.
“I’m also really excited about my coaching staff,” said Gussin. “Our assistant coaches are absolutely amazing. We’ve only been working together a short time, but I’m already so impressed by the insight, purpose and thoughtfulness they’re bringing to our team.”
Thanks to the Seattle ultimate community, Rainmakers games have become popular events in the Seattle area. The Rainmaker fans are some of the loudest in the league and Gussin knows that the Rainmakers feed off the energy they bring to games.
“Our fans are loud, they are supportive, they are positive and it feels fantastic to get another opportunity to coach for them,” said Gussin. “Bumping into people around town wearing Rainmakers gear and getting to talk ultimate with them is one of the best perks of the job.”
With the first game against the Stags on April 18, Seattle has a lot of work ahead of them. With all the new faces on the roster it could be difficult to create the chemistry that many teams have already developed in previous seasons, but Gussin isn’t worried.
“Most of all, I’m excited about the opportunity to build and compete. We have a dedicated, hard-working group of players and coaches, and I can’t wait to see the growth that happens between now and the end of the season.”